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Pentagon asks all personnel to report symptoms of 'Havana syndrome'

The Hill logo The Hill 9/16/2021 Caroline Vakil
Lloyd Austin wearing a suit and tie: Pentagon asks all personnel to report symptoms of 'Havana syndrome' © Getty Pentagon asks all personnel to report symptoms of 'Havana syndrome'

The Pentagon is directing military service members, civilian employees and contractors to report when they have symptoms of the so-called Havana syndrome, according to a memo obtained by The Hill sent to all military personnel.

In a letter dated on Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that he wanted individuals to report when they had anomalous health incidents (AHI) and remove themselves from the area immediately. He noted that symptoms include nausea, headaches and pain in response to pressure, sounds or heat.

"If you believe you have experienced a sensory event with the new onset of such symptoms, immediately remove yourself, coworkers, and/or family members from the area and report the incident and symptoms to your chain of command, security officer, and medical provider," Austin said in the letter.

"Every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Guardian, civilian employee, and covered contractor personnel has a responsibility to report suspected incidents through all of the appropriate channels. Other affected persons, such as dependents, are strongly encouraged to report suspected incidents," he added.

Video: Pentagon Asks Personnel to Report Symptoms of ‘Havana Syndrome’ (Veuer)


The memo was first reported by The New York Times.

The cause of Havana syndrome is still largely unknown. Cases first became known in 2016 when U.S. officials at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, became strangely ill. Some had brain injuries while others were hospitalized for months.

Some believe that U.S. adversaries are behind the strange effects. As many as 200 Americans have reported possible symptoms related to Havana syndrome, which since 2016 have also been reported in Central Asia and Europe.

"As part of a government-wide effort, the Department is committed to finding the cause and the source of these AHI and ensuring that affected individuals receive appropriate medical care as quickly as possible when needed," Austin wrote.

Updated 3:53 p.m.


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